Headless CMS 101

Summary
Classic content management systems (CMSs) allowed authors to show up with their content without needing much help from developers or designers to update content on these sites. As time progressed, these CMSs became burdensome to those utilizing them. We see teams lack the flexibility to work with the tooling that they desire, leading to hiring challenges. Publishing slows, and time-to-market for new changes slows to a crawl. IT budget jumps as adaptations to configure custom solutions to solve business problems slow upgrades and further work.  Customers struggle with longer load times and notice features missing compared to other newer sites.

Reading time: 2 minutes
Date published
August 11, 2022

Classic content management systems (CMSs) allowed authors to show up with their content without needing much help from developers or designers to update content on these sites. As time progressed, these CMSs became burdensome to those utilizing them. We see teams lack the flexibility to work with the tooling that they desire, leading to hiring challenges. Publishing slows, and time-to-market for new changes slows to a crawl. IT budget jumps as adaptations to configure custom solutions to solve business problems slow upgrades and further work.  Customers struggle with longer load times and notice features missing compared to other newer sites.

While we don't see headless as a catch-all solution, it does help teams better manage what they do with their data and allows them to choose their own tooling. By modernizing their technical approaches, the site becomes more performant and accessible. It also becomes easier to attract bright talent to the business. With this comes the expectation that teams need to own and manage pieces that were previously managed on their behalf.

As leaders evaluate whether it's worth investing in a headless approach, we recommend they look first to see how the company is slowing down. Are we investing heavily in maintaining the existing system? If the team has the size and desire to own this challenge, it begins to look like a compelling option.

As teams look to adopt, they need to narrow down a few things. First is a strong understanding of the specific and situational pain points that teams are experiencing. Next is determining which headless CMS maps most closely to the business's constraints and underlying mission with the site. Choosing technologies and determining elements can fit after as we also want to make sure to understand how developers and designers will be engaged in building out the new site.

If this sounds interesting to you, listen to the discussion with Associate Directors Nancy Du and Ben Hofferber as they dive in on these issues and help shed light on modern headless CMS.

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